Expeditionary Force by Craig Alanson Wiki
Expeditionary Force by Craig Alanson Wiki
ExForce Book 3 Paradise header.jpg

Authors Summary

"While the crew of the starship Flying Dutchman have been trying to assure that hostile aliens do not have access to Earth, the UN Expeditionary Force has been stranded on the planet they nicknamed "Paradise". The Flying Dutchman is headed back out on another mission, and the UN wants the ship to find out the status of the humans on Paradise. But Colonel Joe Bishop warns that they might not like what they find, and they can't do anything about it without endangering Earth."

Plot Summary

The section(s) below SCHMAYBE includes Spoilers.

After arriving back at Earth, Colonel Joseph Bishop was debriefed by UN and Earth military services who second-guessed his actions aboard the Flying Dutchman and his tactical decisions. He then spent some days on leave living as a civilian.

Meanwhile on Paradise, the former UN Expeditionary Force (UNEF) was trying to survive by creating their own food supply (with the assistance of the Ruhar) and hiding from Kristang raiding ships who wanted to punish the humans for not resisting the Ruhar. The Ruhar federal government was secretly in negotiations to trade the planet to the Kristang, which would condemn the humans to be killed by the Kristang.

After extensive discussion on Earth, Joe was reinstated with his rank in the position of captain of the Flying Dutchman, but with the official mission commander being a diplomat called Hans Chotek. Chotek had disagreements with Joe about how the mission should be run and got off to a bad start with Skippy the Magnificent

On Paradise, the humans were facing increasing hardship due to Kristang raids destroying crops and food supplies, driving UNEF command on Paradise to consider switching allegiance to the Ruhar while people tried to adapt to their new agricultural existence as best as they could. A faction of humans developed that kept loyalty to the Kristang and believed that they would save the humans if only the humans would resist the Ruhar (the prior mistreatment of humanity by the Kristang notwithstanding).

To obtain information on whether the Thuranin were sending another surveyor ship to Earth, the Dutchman needed to hijack a Thuranin data relay station. The operation would have been highly risky, but Joe and Skippy discovered a critical flaw in the design of the relay stations that allowed the Dutchman’s Spec Ops Teams to capture the station with minimal casualties. 

On Paradise, the Ruhar had discovered that Joe had escaped from his Kristang prison after the Ruhar orbital bombardment, and were interviewing soldiers, including Major Emily Perkins, Dave Czajka, Jesse Colter and Shauna Jarrett, to determine how he did so. However, plans were interrupted by the sudden arrival of a Kristang battle group commanded by Admiral Jet-au-Bes Kekrando, at Paradise, which arranged a very un-Kristang-like truce with the out-numbered Ruhar defenders for the sake of improving the Swift Arrow clan's hand in negotiations. The truce allowed Ruhar ships and civilians to be spared at the cost of Ruhar ending support and protection for the humans on Paradise.

Skippy installed a communications sub-mind to control the captured relay station and discovered that the Thuranin weren't planning to send another surveyor ship to Earth anytime soon. However, Skippy also discovered the impending handover of Paradise and action was needed if UNEF was to be protected.

The Dutchman's command crew and Skippy came up with the idea to use a hidden planetary MASER network to destroy the Kristang battle group. Skippy contacted a group of Joe's associates (including Major Perkins) and, in the guise of a Mysterious Benefactor (or "Emby" as Perkins calls him), got them to carry out the physical portion of the plan, aiding their escape from their Ruhar guards and providing them with, information, supplies and equipment. Perkins recruited Irene Striebich to fly the Buzzard for the operation.
ExForce Book 3 Paradise art.jpg

After some MASER projectors were activated and Skippy was forced to strike ahead of schedule, he was able to destroy half the battle group at Paradise and force the remaining ships to retreat. With no ships in orbit, hundreds of Kristang and Ruhar aircraft battled for air supremacy, with Skippy tipping the battle in favor of the Ruhar.

The remaining Kristang ships stayed away from Paradise and stopped pursuing the Ruhar defenders out of a sense of fear of further losses. On the ground, Perkins and her team rescued a downed human (Derek Bonsu) and Ruhar (Saily Chernandagren) crew of a Ruhar gunship before informing the deputy planetary administrator of Paradise of the other MASER projector locations.

Back in space, the commander of the Ruhar defense fleet, Admiral Tashallo, baited a Kristang pursuit force into an ambush, neutralizing the force. Resulting stalemates in space and on Paradise forced a new ceasefire, but the Ruhar federal government still planned to trade away the planet to the Kristang.

With the Ruhar government were still considering turning over Paradise to the Kristang, Joe came up with the idea to plant an Elder Power Tap on Paradise, an extremely rare and extremely valuable device that would drive the Ruhar government to station a battlegroup permanently at Paradise. Skippy got a shut-down Elder Power Tap transferred to a remote civilian facility and the Dutchman's Spec Ops Teams launched a raid to recover the Elder Power Tap. However, the Thuranin had somehow managed to break the power tap so that it couldn't be rebooted. Joe then had the idea to fake a working Elder Power Tap by shunting power from the Dutchman through a microwormhole to the broken Elder Power Tap, and doing a similar trick to fake working Elder comm nodes

The tricks worked, causing the Ruhar federal government to deploy two full battlegroups to Paradise and the Jeraptha to launch a new offensive in the area, ensuring that Paradise would not return to the Kristang in the foreseeable future even though the tricks had been ended by Skippy. After confirmation that the Thuranin were not going to send another surveyor ship to Earth, the Merry Band of Pirates thought that Earth was safe. Unfortunately, Skippy told that the truth was "not so much".